Trans people want people like me dead. That much is clear. TERF die in a fire, right?
I am taken aback by the level of fear. “Not all of us, I hope,” I said. We met on facebook, I asked if we could pm for a bit. She is masculine in presentation, and was gang raped by people calling her a man. She has been depressed. Trans activists bombed her group. Yet she admits the attacks on trans people make it more difficult for her to dress in a more masculine way.
(I quote her claims without comment on whether I believe them or not.)
I try to be winsome. “To me, we should be allies. Indeed gender is a social construct. I believe that any quality or virtue is equally bad in men and in women.”
She says terfs are hurt by campaigns to stop them meeting. It makes them suicidal. Coming together with people who think the same way is a refuge: “It’s like water or air”.
She is so sensitive to threat that when I showed her the advert from LGB All Liars she thought it was attacking terfs. Then she made her claim: that men dress as women specifically to get into women’s spaces to attack women. She has been attacked by such a man, wearing a dress. “To me, that’s a central experience,” she said. It happens in college and in schools. “In college, dressing up as women to raid the sorority gatherings is also a long held tradition.”
People’s statements are the only evidence I have. She tells me men in women’s clothes rape and murder women, and also murder trans people when they find out we are trans. She doesn’t believe me when I deny it happens here: “It would be interesting to talk to some UK women who aren’t trans and ask them”. So I asked on facebook, including some American-born women, who said it is a myth. I did not deny her account, though.
Then she went on to socialisation. “People who are born with vaginas in this culture, regardless of what we call ourselves, are put into a second class at birth. Everything about how we are raised is to train us into submission. So when I try to live in the reality that I am of equal value to men, that gets put down every time.”
“What support would you want from me?” I asked.
Believe us when we say we know what is not safe for us. Understand male socialisation makes you see women as less. Join us in creating a world safe for everyone. Stop trans allies from attacking us. “Behind all that anger is a lot of fear. We’ve all been threatened over and over again by people who claim to be protecting trans folks. We’ve lost our jobs. We’ve lost our friends. In some cases, we’ve been beaten or raped.” Stop men harassing us.
I said she did not know how I had been raised, and she said “That really is the problem. You can’t see the privilege.” Then she said I had accused her of lying about the non-trans men in women’s clothes.
I sympathise with the anger and fear, and the female anti-trans campaigners who feel that way have become fixated on one solution: the exclusion of trans women. It won’t do them any good, it won’t reduce the violence they suffer, but that’s what they campaign for. Any resistance to their campaigning makes them more determined.